The American School in SwitzerlandThe American School in Switzerland
What is the Purpose of a Student Council?

By Joy Mack ’21

While you may be used to hearing about government in a more public, negative connotation, I assure you the TASIS Student Council is far from the typical branches of government you hear about in your daily lives. The High School Student Council that aids TASIS is a collection of students from all four classes committed to building a more engaging community and keeping school spirit alive. We are a group of students that helps to improve the TASIS community by listening to our peers’ wants and needs and using their opinions to improve the student experience at TASIS. 

The Student Council is led by High School History Teacher Mr. Keith Izsa, upheld by the administration and other faculty members, and made up of a diverse group of student leaders who fight for change in their school community. A lot goes into deciding both what we want to be proactive about and who we need to help us. For example, not only do the majority of our decisions and propositions have to be passed by either the Board, the Headmaster, or the Dean of Students, but we also have to, oftentimes, formulate a business plan to show those authorities exactly what they are endorsing. 

The Student Council table at this year’s TPA Holiday Market

In terms of becoming involved, there have been a lot of different conversations within our group as well as with other faculty members about changing the process to do so. Recently we became aware of how unfair the election process can be in terms of electing the president and vice president, as it seems to be more of a popularity competition; therefore, one of the main goals the Student Council focused on this year was improving that system to form more of a meritocracy. But, in the past, we have aimed to have more traditional election speeches each fall when school reconvened to elect the Student Council President(s). After this, all the High School students and teachers have an opportunity to complete a Google Form as their voting platform. As Mr. Izsa put it, the Student Council is looking for “students who want to have a positive impact on the school and leave a lasting legacy,” and you can do your part today by letting him know you’d like to be involved!

The Student Council holds meetings periodically to assure progress on ongoing projects, bring up any issues concerning the student body, and spitball future ideas on how to bring TASIS together as a community. Though we are in charge of a lot, we find that meeting every week would simply not be as effective if we didn’t get anything done between those meetings, and thus we meet on predetermined days to check up on progress made instead of giving unnecessary burdens to both the students and teachers involved. In the end, making progress on projects is significant and takes time. 

You may be asking yourself, “If the Student Council is in charge of so much, why haven’t I heard about it before? What are they really doing?” Well, the Student Council is a very large yet stealthy contributor to the TASIS community. The Student Council truly serves the student body as a whole because that is its mission. Due to the fact that we are constantly surrounded by those who make up the student body and are a part of it on a daily basis, we can get a good feel for what we would want or what our peers would enjoy, and we are able to execute our ideas because of all the feedback and advice we get from our peers and even from some faculty members with the help of Mr. Izsa and many others.

This year’s High School Boat Dance

Some events that the Student Council has helped organize in recent years that you may have forgotten about are the High School Boat Dance and the TPA Holiday Market, just to name a few. While we have of course tried our best so far, the Student Council is still trying to become more integrated into the opinions of the students. To counter the typical student lethargy and exhaustion with some good old school morale, we are asked to plan the annual Boat Dance, distributing the duties amongst the group. Differently than in the past years, we decided to shorten the Boat Dance this year so as not to tire the students and faculty more after the long first week of school. The Student Council also gladly took part in the Holiday Market, one of TASIS students’ favorite events. According to Mr. Izsa, the “delectable” cookies and other baked goods the Student Council worked tirelessly to make for the attendees tasted “like little drops of Heaven,” as he had one or two. 

The winning team at the inaugural March Madness Basketball Tournament

As for the new year, we would very much like to continue with the March Madness Basketball Tournament, which definitely brought the entire school together through the friendly competitive fire of basketball. Not only did more than 50 students ranging from 6th to 12th grade as well as teachers sign up to participate in this event, but many more also attended the event to support the players and their teams. The attendees were also able to enjoy burgers and fries from the Sorengo Irish Pub on top of the delicious baked goods the TASIS Parent Association (TPA) graciously sold throughout the event. If having a little basketball fun wasn’t enough for the TASIS community, the winning team of this event also donated the entry fees to a service-learning group of their choice—in last year’s case, Nuovo Fiore Ethiopia. Lastly, another successful tradition the Student Council began last year was the Grill & Chill Barbecue in conjunction with the TPA as well as the TASIS Kitchen Staff. After enjoying some nice barbecue, students and faculty alike were able to roast marshmallows, play games, and even watch Disney’s Moana at dusk on an inflatable screen (thanks once again to the generous TPA). This event produced a lot of positive feedback and, in the words of Mr. Izsa, “We hope to host an even bigger event this year!”

The first annual Grill & Chill Barbecue

To conclude, the Student Council just wants you to know we believe that, as an American school, we can still bring in more American high school traditions that many students from different parts of the world might not even know exist. We love the idea of ushering in even more school spirit—whether that’s through more spirit days, dances, or community events in general—and that is our main goal. Below you will see who exactly is involved this year so that you know who you can go to with any concerns or suggestions you have to enhance student life at TASIS!

Members of the 2019–2020 Student Council

Mr. Izsa (faculty leader), Ms. Baxter (previously a faculty leader), Iris Kaymak ’20, Joy Mack ’21, Zawadiyah Tolliver ’20, Madeleine Ringelstein ’20, Kaan Dogan ’20, Anna Savinova ’20, Nadezhda Fartushnyak ’21, Alara Secilmis ’20, Skye Rourke ’20, Zhan Sarsenov ’21, Thanos Ziogas ’21, Marco de Cristafero ’20, and Can Besen ’20

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